Saturday, December 14, 2013


Those who train but do so with the goal purely of validation tend not to appreciate the gift of losing ...
I mean no-one really likes losing, but some people see losing as a learning opportunity, as an incentive to improve, but the validators rationalize around it to avoid having to make any change whatsoever.

These people seem to fall into 4 types:

- Those that avoid losing by simply not playing.
- Those that never get past the 'But I got you too so it's OK' theory.
- The 'I'd take that shot' folks, and the
- 'I'm only taking hits because I wasn't really trying anyway so it doesn't count' folks.

Now maybe it is OK to take that shot because 'I got you too' ... or that 'taking that shot' was 'worth it', but if the goal of training is to improve skills, these are dead ends and imply there is no higher level to rise to.

Training is not about winning, training is about upping skills, and being content with getting 'maimed' or 'killed' as the price of that win implies a lack of imagination about how to get better.

It's so, so, common when we start to lose to get trapped in a looping behavior, trying the same thing over and over again, usually harder and faster, thinking that the flaw is fixable with power and speed. And the real kicker is that sometimes it will work, and all the times that you lost will be forgotten, like a gambler putting money in a slot machine all night and only remembering that $5 win.

Just adding power and speed to your same old pattern rarely helps, which you will know for sure if you keep losing .... But the alternatives are highly counter intuitive, risky, and demand a level of focus and accuracy that most are not willing to learn. They can also require moving outside your own identity and comfort zone ..... and hence I guess the resistance ...?

But a way does exist, and if the stakes are high enough (and surely not losing to someone with a sword qualifies?) these higher risk options are better than no options at all.

Losing just indicates that it's time to go find them, but you gotta accept that it is happening to have any chance at all of fixing anything. Don't be happy with mediocrity - winning occasionally, or even more than half of the time means there is still room for improvement.

If you are losing, you are playing at your limit. Change or die.


Jim said...

If you are losing, you are playing at your limit. Change or die."

Very powerful summary there...

Lots to think about and assess in this post. Too many people view training in a win/lose mindset; rather than a "this worked/this didn't work" which leads to "how do I fix it... or is it fixable and even worth keeping?" But before you can even begin that -- you have to accept that you can lose, and be willing to face that situation. I can train all day with students who bluntly don't stand a chance against me; if I can't out class them -- I can simply over power them. There's no learning if that's all I do though... I need to train with people who push me to my limit.

Maverick Alexander said...

unfortunately most people today have no understanding of our language, let alone what constitutes martial arts or just the art of becoming a better person, to contribute to a better world, better universe, all is art. the very meaning of the word competition the etymology is the coming together of people to determine what works and what doesnt. its an understanding it takes this act to make true forward momentum while working through any informational bias

Maija said...

Fascinating! And Yes :-)